Library apps

Talking of apps I was before, you can get a WorldCat app on your iPhone, iTouch etc – see here

And on a general phone here

In fact there are hundreds of apps for iPhones and iPod touchs and iPads that are relevant to libraries, see here

These are Mac/Apple based. But don’t fret Android/Google means in future you will be able to do all this stuff on your chosen non Apple product in the future. See here

Twitter and Facebook make you MORE productive! according to this article in WIRED

…for knowledge workers charged with transforming ideas into products — whether gadgets, code, or even Wired articles — goofing off isn’t the enemy. In fact, regularly stepping back from the project at hand can be essential to success. And social networks are particularly well suited to stoking the creative mind.

The article talks about aiding creativity, but I would think that especially with Twitter, among librarian and techie users there is a huge amount of information and link sharing that goes on that is of enormous benefit for keeping up to date with tools and technologies. You just have to Twitter follow the right people.

Librarian app shushes for you

See this previous post about Quiet in the Library .

Well look technology solves all problems (as usual) here is an Iphone or Itouch application to shush for you

See more info about it Here It’s free!

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You have also got to get this app http://appshopper.com/games/the-librarian

The library opened, people come to library to see. Please specify each person sitting at a table, remember to look at each individual book, showed him, you will get the appropriate money. Earn money, you can buy more books, customers will be more time through the book, then the income will increase. You can also buy a table or a chair, so that more people will be reading at the same time,Increase revenue.

Librarianship game that seems to revolve around money, how strange and otherwordly!

sad librarian with no oneyPictured – One sad librarian with no money

Counter terrorism

I see the government’s Counter-Terrorism White Paper : Securing Australia – Protecting our Community has been released and note that yet again there is no stated role for librarians in the defence of the country. This is a shame because whilst covert intelligence and surveillance has a primary role, the use of librarians with their skills in technology, classification and primarily Open Source Intelligence could yet win this war. Let us not forget it was the many Librarians in places like Bletchley Park who substantially shortened WW2.

As with all things, if you need something sorted, you need to call on a librarian. For if, as Shelley said, ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’ Librarians then are the unacknowledged soldiers.

Twelve theses on libraries and librarians

Check out this blog post on Libraries at:
http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2010/02/twelve-theses-on-libraries-and.html

..there is nobody more conservative than a librarian. Their enthusiasm for constant change and reinvention springs from an even deeper commitment to what has been received from the hand of the past. The library is an angel whose wings are spread out in fierce and loving protection of the past, while its face stares deep into the eerie light of the future

Quiet in the Library

Dr Leslie Cannold writes in The Age today:

My own partisan view is that silence is a precious resource, however few value it, and at least some sections of all libraries must be places where quiet is found. After all, for those who wish to talk, the rest of the world is just beyond the library doors.

Certainly, false advertising at the State Library must stop. Library staff must either enforce their own rules about quiet or publicly admit defeat and withdraw them. It’s time to take a stand.

Dr Cannold writes in the article of her problems finding the silence within which she can work at the State Library of Victoria. As she says “Libraries are not just repositories of books but sacred spaces for research, creation and reflection.”
However for a number of other users (I would say the majority) that research, creation and reflection is no longer done by the majority of library users (not counting creative writers) alone but in unison with other people. This is especially in the case of university students (with whom most complaints arise) who are often required to work in groups and is the the outcome of a social and educational system which values cooperative work above lone achievement, and one could also posit work practices that value teamwork over results. The technologies used by today’s new users also invariable involve sound and interaction. While mobile phones and general chatting are mentioned here, there are also many users used to the very quiet scribbling of pen on paper, who find the tapping of laptop keys insanely annoying in a library, but banning that activity is not possible.

The answer as the author says is to have general reading rooms as well as quiet study areas or more preferably quiet rooms. The main reading room of the National Library is not generally loud and does not allow phone calls to continue, but a silence is not maintained. There are however a number of reading rooms, including a quiet one, to which users may go seeking real quiet.

Whether we can blame librarians for the noise at the State Library of Victoria is a different issue, the author of the article claims the staff are not doing their jobs in maintaining silence, I would question whether that is their job, does the Library say that it will maintain silence? I don’t ever recall that it was a stipulation of entry of any library that one must be quiet. Sure there are signs, in some, and all pretty much have signs saying mobile phone use is not allowed, but is general silence this enforceable, and is it the case at this particular library. I know that most public libraries no longer have a silence or a quite policy at all, I would be surprised if the State Library did.

And in fact if you go the Library’s website you can see this under theri list of services and rooms:

The Arts Reading Room houses the Library’s Arts Collection.

Quiet room

This room is one of the Library’s designated quiet areas, reserved for silent work and study. Mobile phones should be switched to silent. If you wish to make phone calls, have conversations or hold group study sessions, we recommend you use other Library areas, such as the Information Centre and Redmond Barry Reading Room.

But even if the Library did indeed indicate that its main reading room should be quiet. This would not make the issue one for the day to day librarians working there as it would be a regulations and security issue. Librarians are not around to shush people they are there to deliver reference and other useful assistance. In a quiet area anyone causing obviously unnecessary noise needs to be spoken to or otherwise dealt with by a member of the security staff.

On motivation

What do you need in a workplace to feel motivated? The support of your colleagues? The feeling of being treated fairly? To have your work acknowledged? If you answered yes to all three, you’d be on the money.

An article published by the Harvard Business school says that:

To maintain an enthusiastic workforce, management must meet all three goals. Indeed, employees who work for companies where just one of these factors is missing are three times less enthusiastic than workers at companies where all elements are present.

Employees are generally capable of motivating themselves when all three of these requirements are met. Management doesn’t so much need to motivate their staff, rather they need to stop demotivating them and let employees get on with their work. An interesting perspective.

It’s the future, we’re just living in it

Daniel Sinker has created a fantastic project in which he uses the 1972 book “2010 : living in the future” by Geoffrey Hoyle to explore whether or not the future has lived up to 1972 expections. It contains full images and text from the book, along with commentary.

It even describes what the library of the future might look like:

A very popular room is the library. There are no books. The floor is shaped into tables and benches. Built into these tables are hundreds of vision phones. The books, films, and newspapers are all stored in the library computer.

First you dial the library index. This file contains all the books that have ever been written. It does not matter whether they were first written in Chinese or French. They will be here, translated into English. There is also an index of films and newspapers. You could spend all day watching comics, but it wouldn’t be a good idea.

Amazingly, it seems like Hoyle must have been reading our blog from his 1972 world on his vision phone. Plus, he seems to have the whole work-life balance thing sorted. I want to live in his world.

Query

Money from the government’s economic stimulus package has been used to modernise and expand many schools, and I believe school libraries. I can’t seem to find any statistics on this however, anyone out there got any ideas? Also once a school library is built or re-modeled does the funding also pay for new equipment/technology and books?

Update - Oh hang on the information is here http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/BuildingTheEducationRevolution/Pages/P21.aspx 8 new school libraries in the A.C.T alone, and others refurbished. No information on the collections however.

Living room of the community

Reading through the latest (paper) issue of Incite, I very much liked this editorial, it reminds me that although new technologies and information delivery are important they are not the only factors which make libraries important.

The one constant in this changing environment
is the importance of the physical library as a safe
haven, a neutral space, and the living room of the
community, whether your community is a school,
college, university workplace, or public library.
In considering new technologies we need to
consider how we can build upon this reputation
to offer trusted but exciting services.
I live in Orange on the NSW Central Tablelands.
For us December through to April is backpacker
season as young people from across the world
descend for seasonal picking of stone fruit,
apples, and wine grapes. Every available seat
(and power point!) is given over to internet access
whether through our PC network or Wi fi. I know
from experience that many of you have similar
experiences. Safe in the knowledge of the ‘library
as a safe place’ we know that libraries around the
world are providing the same welcome to young
Australians.

From my office I am afforded a wonderful
view of the public spaces on the floor below.
I can’t let talk of the library as the community
living room go without reference to an incident
which occurred a few days before Christmas.
My attention was caught by a woman who had
pulled together a couple of our large tables
over which she had neatly laid navy fabric with
pattern pieces pinned in place. Her sewing basket
was on a chair nearby. Without fuss, and totally
unaware of her amazed but approving audience
she calmly set about cutting. Are our tables bigger
than the domestic model, was it a Christmas gift
she wanted to construct in secret, or was she a
grey nomad who was taking advantage of our
space? Who cares, I was just delighted that she
felt comfortable enough to be able to do so.

Jan Richards, ALIA President, in Incite at: http://alia.org.au/publishing/incite/2010/01-02/frontline.pdf

Google goggles

What is Google goggles? It’s a Google developed application that utilises the camera on your mobile device and uses Google search to cross reference the image (which might be something like a landmark) to give you more information about it. It’s early days for this product but it’s an innovative step giving people the ability to query the world around them.

Currently in beta testing but close enough to being released that Google have already demonstrated the next stage of development in this product, Google goggles is moving into the world of mobile translation. Use your phone’s camera to take a picture of text you want translated, web connectivity to send the image which will be run through an OCR process, translated by the Google translate tool and the translation neatly sent back to your phone.

Whilst the current beta version is only translating German to English, it’s bringing the universal translator one step closer to reality.

Library of the future

The library of the future as seen by the UTS Library staff. Not all of the issues are relevant to us as a National Library, which is the case with most thought and discussion on the roles of most libraries. Being a national library we have a different usership and responsibilities and thus we don’t fit within larger groups (such as university libraries, public libraries, etc.) which makes trading experiences and learning of new ideas hard.
The only really relevant people in our sector are librarians who work in other national libraries and at home in our state libraries. But there is no fora in which our state and national librarians here can frequently meet or exchange ideas. Well there is NSLA, but I have had no involvement nor have other staff I know, and it appears to be only for quite senior staff.
This does not mean we are not innovative, we are, most assuredly and we provide great services to our users, but we are less assured in the way we operate with regards to staffing – we don’t have staff working from home, although technology allows it and comparable staff in state libraries currently do so, we also have a very firm hierarchical structure and whilst we push new technology to our users we are hesitant in allowing staff to use it in some regards. So maybe there are lessons from the library of the future video, namely trust.